Finally, I have finished my homework for the week and am able to write a blurb about the last night of the Backyard Bible Club at the Pepperhill Community in North Charleston, SC on Thursday, July 28,2011. I was amazed, first of all, how many of these kids had returned with 3 or 4 of their friends. I believe the director said we had over 60 kids this night. One girl, who was in the 4th grade class I was helping with, brought 4 of her friends this day! Many of the teenagers brought friends as well, bringing our youth total up to twenty-two kids. Things went much smoother on Thursday ,and we did not seem pressed for time. The kids in my 3rd and 4th grade class were quieter and much better listeners. I believe it was because God was opening their minds and hearts for his message. There was no fighting or arguing at recreation time. Everyone was just happy to get their turn at playing kickball. I think it helped a lot that our recreation leader decided not to keep points. It taught them that sometimes its ok to have fun and not worry about who wins or losers. We are all winners when God is on our side. Next, we went to story time. The children were told the story of Zaccheaus and the sycamore tree. I confess I heard little of the story. One of the boys, was a little restless and didn’t want to sit with the group. I just stayed with him behind the circle and put my arm around him praying the message was getting through, somehow. The story leader ended by sharing the entire gospel story with the children using a wordless book. The kids asked lots of questions and seemed very interested, but no decisions were made at this point, yet. We went on to craft time which ran very efficiently. The children made door hangers in the shape of a stop light with a message to Pause and take time for God and Go and Grow everyday with Him (I am sorry that I do not remember exactly what they said. If anyone from the trip know, send me a line. I confess that I was mostly concerned at this time with helping the kids pay attention and listen. Crowd control was an important part of working with a dozen excited children. They could get surprisingly loud. 🙂 ). One child did remark to me during craft time that, “this has been a pretty good week. It has been surprisingly fun. It has been one of the best parts of the summer.”
Next, we had prayer time. The prayer leader shared the gospel again using parts of the Roman Road. The kids were very excited about being saved from their sin and receiving forgiveness, especially 4 in the group. The prayer leader was not even done talking when one girl raised her hand and said, “Can I do this now, I believe Jesus died for my sins. Can I be saved now!” The prayer leader prayed and told the group to talk to the teacher later if they wanted to know more about salvation. I am so thankful for the other teacher, Katie’s sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. She pulled the 4 students aside who had seemed interested in salvation, while I took the rest of our kids inside. She made sure the kids understood what the prayer leader had just said and told the gospel story more in detail. When, she was done, all four of the children accepted Christ into their hearts by praying the sinners prayer. Their response when they were done was to say that they wanted to share the story with their family members so they could hear it and be saved also! We gave the four children a copy of the wordless books (with the Romans Road verses in them) to celebrate their newfound faith in Jesus Christ and so they could share the gospel with their family and friends. I was very happy (more like ecstatic) to see these kids return to the rest of the group at music time with glowing faces. The children sang and dance to the music of “Shackles” (see previous blog post) with a fervor like never before. They certainly had a reason to praise him for their new-found salvation. One of the boys who was saved had told me on the first day of ministry (when it rained so we couldn’t play outside) that he had only come to VBS to play kick ball. He was glad he stayed and so was the Hillcrest group! God certainly had a plan. Sadly, the day ended shortly after music, when all had eaten their snacks, but at least 4 children went home with different hearts that day. We invited all of the age groups out for huge barbecue the next day.
After, the kids had all left, we met for a meeting and rejoiced together over the 4 children who had entered the kingdom of God that day. We also found out that one of volunteers had gotten to share the gospel with a parent. There was also another parent ministered to, who came with 7 kids. She was Hispanic and spoke little English. Thankfully, we had a volunteer who was fluent in Spanish, who was able to spend time with her. One of the children she brought with her was only two years old, which meant they were too young to be in a class. Our leaders allowed the woman to follow the kindergarten class along with her toddler and participate that way. She said she would likely bring her family to our Hispanic service on Sundays. I am sure that volunteer did not expect to use her Spanish on local mission trip, but it just goes to show that we never know when God might ask us to use the gifts he has given to us. We must not hesitate when we feel him pulling. Among the teenage groups, no decisions were made but there was one teenage boy who seemed very interested. The youth leader shared the gospel story and no one said anything. The leader had left his Bible on the table. He saw one of the guys thumbing through his Bible. He put it down immediately when the leader saw him and said he was just looking. He wasn’t really interested. The leader just happened to have a small, pocket-sized Gideon’s Bible in his car (This is one of the reasons I so heartily support the Gideons – see blog link roll). He gave the Gideon’s Bible to the teenager. During snack time, he looked over and the teenage boy was leafing through the Bible with a fascinated expression. We don’t know if this boy made a decision and was too shy to say anything or if he was just really interested, but we know the seeds were sown and God was moving. Yes, God was moving all throughout the Pepperhill community. Something new was started here and I believe, it is only the beginning of a ministry that will be carried out in this community. Tomorrow, I will share the final wrap up of Hillcrest Baptist Church Mission Connect 2011, which will include our barbecue with the kids and parents, and our debriefing time among the mission team members.
I am not responsible for the video above. Thanks to the other uploader who shared the song and made the video. If you have any problem with sharing, let me know and I will immediately take it down. This is one of my favorite worship songs and it was running in my head after Thursday! Grace like rain fell upon 4 young souls! Hallelujah indeed!
P.S. – I just noticed comments were off for this post. I am not sure why. I can’t seem to fix it. Anyway, thanks for reading. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated!